Two experts in family medicine and behavioral science from U.S. institutions held a seminar to help people struggling to overcome unhealthy lifestyle habits, in the second edition of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar’s (WCMC-Q) Ask the Expert series.
Dr. Jeffrey Ring and Dr. Robert Like explained techniques that can help individuals find the motivation needed to break negative patterns of behavior and embrace healthy new lifestyles.
The Ask the Expert series is part of WCMC-Q’s Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign, a five-year initiative that aims to encourage members of both the expat and Qatari communities to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Dr. Ring, Director of Behavioral Sciences and Cultural Medicine at the White Memorial Medical Center, Los Angeles, said: “Embracing positive lifestyles will help improve your personal and family’s health and well being. My three key pieces of advice are to identify your strengths as well as opportunities to change unhealthy behaviors, seek out inspiration from appropriate religious and spiritual sources, and make use of available community resources.”
The seminar, which was free to the public, gave advice on how to get activated to make positive changes to behavior, with a particular focus on healthy eating and weight loss. Dr. Ring and Dr. Like recommended setting realistic goals, celebrating successes and becoming informed and enlightened about health issues in order to maintain motivation.
Held at The Diplomatic Club on Tuesday 18 March, the seminar also advised attendees to practice mindful eating, whereby each individual allows him or herself to acknowledge the positive and nurturing opportunities available through careful food selection, as well as learning to become aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide decisions of when to begin and end eating.
Dr. Like, Professor and Director, Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said: “The good news is that there are many pathways to change ourselves, our bodies and our health. These include patient activation, mindfulness approaches and identifying a partner in our efforts to make healthy lifestyle changes.”
Successful strategies for combating obesity were also discussed, with advice including finding an exercise partner, cutting out sugary sodas, drinking lots of water and using a pedometer to encourage walking.
Future Ask the Expert seminars will be held at the Diplomatic Club on May 12, September 10 and November 12, starting at 6pm. Entry is free for all members of the public and no invitation is required.
Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, WCMC-Q’s Professor of Public Health, said: “Overcoming motivational difficulties is often one of the biggest problems people face when they are trying to change their lifestyles for the better.
“The strategies and techniques discussed by Dr. Ring and Dr. Like are extremely powerful tools that can help all of us to get activated and maintain enthusiasm so that our positive thoughts are transferred into real action. By doing so, you will not only protect yourself against ill health, but your positivity will inspire other people in your family and community to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”